Longtime Library Users Make Generous Donation to MHPL

Norm and Marilyn Emann impressed by what MHPL offers now, and in the 1950s in Hilda
Posted on 08 March 2024 by Chris Brown.

A smile spreads easily across Norm Emann’s face when he relates his first experience with Medicine Hat Public Library.

He says there wasn’t a school library in Hilda when he was growing up there in the 1950s. Every few weeks the school would receive a box of books from Medicine Hat Public Library.

“It was a big day when the box of books would arrive and everybody was up there at the teacher’s desk and we were grabbing whatever we could. It was just a fun time,” he says. “It was huge because we had no books to speak of in Hilda School. It was a real bonanza of books.”

He and other students read as much as they could in the few weeks, “And then another box would arrive and away we’d go again. It was great to have that opportunity and for the library to have provided that for us.”

It’s those memories and others made since that inspired Norm and his wife Marilyn to make a sizable donation to Medicine Hat Public Library recently.

“It’s a pillar of the community. It is a welcoming space, especially with the times we’re living in and all the things that are going on,” Marilyn says when asked why they feel the library is worthy of such a generous donation. 

The couple has asked the money goes to where it’s needed the most and where it can do the most good for the library community.

Marilyn is a frequent user of the library, particularly the Libby app that she got hooked on during COVID when the building was closed. She says when she visits, she’s thankful for the hot picks and other ever-changing displays near the Information Desk, adding they've helped get her out of her reading comfort zone. Baking, cooking, gardening and travel books are also easy to find on her borrowing list.

Norm says he doesn’t check out books as often. A fan of sports books, he jokes, “I have hundreds of them that I haven’t read, and I think I’ll run out of time.”

Both are impressed by what the library has beyond the books that can be borrowed. They mention The Honeycomb House space for teens and the children’s library, and the different programs in each; the programs for seniors like Readers’ Theatre and monthly classic movies; the public computers downstairs that they see filled when they’re here; and the Community Coffee program and the safe and warm place the library is for vulnerable members of the community.

“I’m just so pleased that you do offer all those things,” Marilyn says.

Norm adds, “Libraries in general, something that was established hundreds of years ago still works the way it was intended to. What a great idea to come up with and it still works.”

It works for the entire community because of people like Norm and Marilyn.

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